UCI Track Worlds: GB's Joanna Rowsell wins individual pursuit (+ link to video)
Second gold of the week for British rider and national team as she beats defending champion Sarah Hammer in final
Great Britain's Joanna Rowsell, who on Thursday helped Great Britain's women retain their team pursuit world title in Cali, Colombia, last night took the gold medal in the individual event, beating the defending champion, Sarah Hammer of the USA, in the final.
Rowsell, aged 25 and from southwest London, has been a mainstay of the British squad that has dominated the team event in recent years, in the process winning four rainbow jerseys, as well as an Olympic gold medal in London two years ago.
Prior to the Olympics, she had won the individual pursuit at the 2012 round of the Track World Cup that acted as a test event for the London velodrome.
Yesterday evening, the woman who last June took the national time trial title on the road had her chance to ride for an individual world title on the track.
It's one she seized in style; in winning gold, Rowsell set a personal best over the 3km distance of 3:30:318, leading the race throughout over Hammer, who had been the fastest qualifier.
Rowsell went off quickly, as would be expected from a rider who performs the 'man one' leadout role in the team event.
She quickly established a solid lead over Hammer, and while the American managed to pull that back to just below one second early on, Rowsell matched her lap for lap and pulled away towards the end to win by 1.415 seconds.
“It means the world to me,” she said afterwards, quoted on the British Cycling website.“This has been a personal goal for me for a while, I just can’t believe I pulled it off!”
She continued: “The team [pursuit] is obviously still the priority, that’s what we train for and I’ll live and die for those girls.
"But it’s a really good chance for me to come here and do an individual event the day after the team pursuit, so we can prioritise the TP.
"I woke up this morning feeling good, which is unusual after two four-kilometre team pursuits the day before, riding from man one.
"But I felt I had good legs on the rollers this morning and thought ‘this is a good sign’.
"I was really pleased with my qualifying ride just two tenths off my PB, but I can’t believe that ride just now, that’s a new personal best for me on pretty much an outdoor track, five spoke wheel, everybody else went slower.
"I can’t believe I’ve done it, I can’t believe I went that quick," added Rowsell.
It's Great Britain's third medal of the championships and the second gold, with Rowsell helping Laura Trott, Elinor Barker and Katie Archibald to a hard fought victory against Canada in the team pursuit on Thursday evening.
On the opening day on Wednesday, Jessica Varnish and Becky James took bronze in the team sprint. Last night, they went head to head in the quarter finals of the individual version.
Despite having to come through the repechage after losing her heat to Australia's Anna Meares, it was Varnish, absent last year through injury, who goes on to the semi-finals today after beating her teammate 2-0.
Surprisingly, Meares, the reigning Olympic and Commonwealth champion in the event, has never won the world title in it, and she too went out in the quarter finals.
Like James, she had to settle for last night's ride-off for 5th to 8th place, won by the British woman, while Varnish goes through to the last four, with the semi-finals and final being raced this evening.
She will face China's Tianshi Zhong in her semi-final, while that same country also provides the opposition, in Junhong Lin, for Germany's Kristina Vogel in the other heat.
In the men's omnium, Ed Clancy sits in sixth place after three of the five events. He won the opening event, the flying lap, but lost the lead after finishing 13th in the points race.
In the final event last night, the elimination race, Clancy finished ninth, but it could have been much better - the Yorkshireman seemed to have crossed the line last on the lap in question and eased off, but it was another rider who was adjudged to have been eliminated.
By then, it was too late for Clancy to be get back onto the group, and his elimination next time round was inevitable.
In the two men's events decided yesterday, Francois Pervis of France added to Thursday's gold in the Keirin by winning the Kilo, while the crowd was on its feet to acclaim a home world champion as Colombia's Edwin Avila Vanegas clinched gold in the points race.
You can watch Rowsell's individual pursuit victory here on the UCI YouTube channel, together with other videos of the night's action.
Today sees the final two events in the men's Omnium and the medals will alos be decided in the women's individual sprint and the points race. The women's Omnium and men's individual sprint also get under way.
You can watch the action live from 11.20pm through the BBC Red Button and on the BBC Sport website.